This day began with bad news over breakfast. The morning tour to Robben that we booked was cancelled due to bad weather and it was informed to us via SMS. It was a real bummer as we were looking forward to visit Robben Island to know more about the history of Africa and the former president Nelson Mandela. Furthermore, we had also arranged the guide to do a transfer for us to the harbour and he had on the other hand, have his wife do this transfer while he had to attend to another group of inbound tourists. As soon as his wife arrived, we informed her about the information and she immediately called the guide. There were several exchanges on the phone and soon she left and he came for us, to carry out the afternoon activity, which is the Cape Town half day city tour.
Again there were some grumblings on why we did not inform earlier but still we proceed with the tour. Got in the vehicle and we were taken around the city in the freezing Cape Town morning.
After a while, we got off at some street to walk around. We were brought to a piece of the Berlin Wall given to Cape Town as a gift.
Then we proceed towards the Company’s Gardens, we were introduced to one of the cathedral where Nobel Prize winner Tutu used to preach.
The gardens had a collection of plants (though we were not sure what) and some statues. Some interesting old plants and various plants were also found here, brought to Cape Town long time ago from Asia.
After the gardens, we were driven to Green market square for a little walk.
After the city tour, we were driven to signal hill where a panoramic view of Cape Town can be seen. It would have been better if the table mountain wasn’t covered with clouds.
The next stop was Bo Kaap, where the Cape Malays stayed in the past. The pastel coloured buildings were the highlights of this visit.
The Noon Day Gun was really a impressive culture that was practised for ages and was the longest running of cannon firing in the world. The cannons were also original with slight modifications to auto firing that was linked to the time station so that the cannons fired off at exactly the correct time.
There were 2 guns side by side. If one did not managed to fire, the other one goes off. The guns were fired alternatively. After the flag raising and an introduction to the history of this custom and the workings of the cannon and the auto ignitor, we were counting down. And the shockwave felt after the “boom” was fantastic!
This concluded the half day tour and also our meeting with the guide. We were dropped at V&A waterfront for lunch and to spend the day since there wasn’t anything planned for it. We were supposed to get a refund from the ticketing counter in the Robben Island museum also at the V&A waterfront, for the reservation made online. We explored the places for a little after lunch since we didn’t do it the other night since it was late already and in the day, the waterfront was a really big place to look around.
The museum was just across the ferry crossing. There were a few tourists who wanted to visit Robben Island. Unfortunately, there weren’t any ferry services on that day. Even if there was, the tickets were way too hot to be still available for counter sales, which was why we bought it in Singapore before arrival. Talked to the sales rep and informed that we wanted to try to visit again on the coming Saturday, hopefully if the weather could improve.
We walked around a bit. There was a tourist center which we visited for advise on climbing the table mountain and was told that the cable car going up the top of table mountain was closed for maintenance. However, we could still try to climb but require a taxi at least to the bottom of the Platteklip Gorge route climb. The time required was 4hrs and at that time, it was a already late so we had to forgo the idea. At this time, we were already considering to change some of our itinerary to spend more time in Cape Town and postponed the garden route to another time.
While walking around the harbour, we finally got to witness the flat top of the table mountain as some of the clouds start to move away from the top. There we finally got the shots that we wanted, with help of some other tourists who were also busy taking photos themselves.
There was a place where there is a collection of food such as crepes and ice-cream and we thought we would have our dinner. Just close by was also a collection of handicraft shops that we bought a couple of towels with customised designs and keychains made from buffalo skin where names could be etched together with the wildlife design that was on the buffalo skin. The gifts for family and friends back home were all settled there and then. Took some photos before sunset, where there was also a rainbow seen from Nobel square before dinner and back to the hotel for some renewed planning.
While back at the hotel, the first thing we did was to cancel the booking for the 3 days garden route driver, informing him of our change in plan. Then we looked up vehicle rental and booked online for a vehicle. These 2 days in Cape Town gave us much confidence in the security of the city and also its drivability and we had no doubt that the car was the way to go explore Cape Town. Then, we also made a booking for an accommodation over at Hermanus which wasn’t in the plan previously since we wanted to stay further away in Kysna instead. We had to forgo the costs of the accommodation at Kysna since it was to late to cancel it already. Finally, we hoped again that the weather becomes better.